Boston launches Main and Me app to funnel holiday shoppers into local stores

Main and Me app now available in Boston. Photo via Main and Me.
Main and Me app now available in Boston. Photo via Main and Me.

As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, Boston is embarking on a new partnership with Main and Me, a provider of web and mobile technology dedicated to helping local, independent, brick-and-mortar businesses expand their customer base with its Pinterest-meets-Main-Street solution.

Holiday shoppers can now virtually window shop the city’s real-world goods and services from mainandme.com or on a mobile device.

“Social media has played a central role in helping small business owners expand their customer base, and this new tool will bring greater marketing power to our Main Streets districts,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and this partnership with Main and Me is another example of how Boston is helping local merchants access new technologies and better compete in a global economy.”

Main and Me Boston allows shoppers to visually discover the gifts and services available in the 20 Boston Main Streets districts before making an in-store purchase. City officials said the app, which also lets shoppers create a holiday wish list to share with family and friends, will help small businesses compete with big box stores and online retailers like Amazon.

“We are thrilled to partner with the City to show our collective support for small, locally-owned businesses in Boston,” said Mary Pat Akers, co-founder of Main and Me. “While Main and Me helps increase awareness of what local businesses offer during the holiday season, it is also a year-round solution that helps lay the groundwork for sustainable neighborhood businesses and commercial districts.”

The announcement came on Small Business Saturday, days after the city launched its annual Holidays on Main Streets campaign, designed to drive shoppers to Boston’s neighborhood commercial districts during the holiday season.

This year’s campaign includes a citywide contest for the best dressed Main Streets storefront window, dubbed Deck the Windows of Boston Main Streets, the winner of which will be recognized by Menino on December 19 at the winning business.

Menino visited Roslindale Village yesterday afternoon for its annual tree lighting and to celebrate Small Business Saturday, the nationwide campaign designed to spur business for small merchants during the holidays. Small businesses across Boston Main Streets districts are participating to raise awareness about the local shopping campaign, which falls on the weekend between two of the busiest shopping days of the year, an alternative to “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.

“Roslindale Village Main Street was created by Mayor Menino and was the catalyst to Boston creating the first citywide urban Main Streets program in the country, so today’s tree-lighting celebration is very nostalgic for all of us,” said Roslindale Village Main Street Board President Steve Gag. “The celebration of Small Business Saturday and the launch of Main and Me Boston right here in Roslindale are just the latest examples of how this community and Roslindale Village Main Street continue to find new and innovative ways to support our local merchants and our neighborhood.”

Boston is one of many cities across the country to have supported the American Express Small Business Saturday and “Shop Small” initiative, which has also received strong support from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Trust Main Street Center and is being highlighted in several other Main Street communities nationwide.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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